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Death Comes to Pemberley [Hardcover]

P. D. James
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (704 customer reviews)
Price: 18.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Nov 2011

The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham - Elizabeth's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.

Inspired by a lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen, PD James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story. Death Comes to Pemberley is a distinguished work of fiction, from one of the best-loved, most- read writers of our time.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition (3 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571283578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571283576
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (704 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of the Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of its Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London.

She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.

She lives in London and Oxford and has two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Product Description

Review

'As might be expected from a celebrated crime novelist, her follow-on to Pride and Prejudice introduces a detective story into Austen's world; but without any tremor of incongruity. An acute admirer of Austen's novels (which, her autobiography makes clear, she has been re-reading for more than 80 years), she keeps her sequel close to their ironic spiritedness, moral toughness and psychological finesse ... brimming with astute appreciation, inventiveness and narrative zest, Death Comes to Pemberley is an elegantly gauged homage to Austen and an exhilarating tribute to the inexhaustible vitality of James's imagination.' --Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

'P. D. James has the advantage in having both the skill and the intelligence to hold her own in Austen's company. Her charmingly conceived murder mystery unfolds like a big soft comfort blanket just in time for the nights drawing in: the nation's best-loved crime writer and best-known romance in a magic meld, with Downtony moments below stairs, spooky moonlit bits and some police procedural thrown in for good measure ... James takes Pride and Prejudice to places it never dreamed of, and does so with a charm that will beguile even the most demanding Janeite.' --Claire Harman, Evening Standard

The story is accomplished and witty, naturally, but to see James s sensibility at work on the character of Jane Austen is a wonderful treat. I find the merging of these two women of literature from such different ages to be totally intriguing. --Melvyn Bragg, New Statesman >>
A tribute to Jane Austen and a sheer delight. A book to banish Boxing Day blues. --Allan Massie, Spectator

Book Description

P. D. James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful 22 Jan 2012
By DavidMc
Format:Hardcover
There is no point in repeating all the adverse comments made by previous reviewers. I love the works of Jane Austen and am an avid reader of James's detective novels. I will simply say that this is awful what where the publishers thinking of besides trading on two distinguished authors' names.
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149 of 161 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad 6 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Should one's admiration and respect for a highly successful author lead one to turn a blind eye to a disaster (cf Agatha Christie's Postern Gate)? Surely not, since if these Amazon reviews have any purpose, it is surely to offer advice to would-be purchasers.
In this case my advice is clear: don't!
Re-read 'Cover Her Face' instead.
To write a thriller in the style of Jane Austen is about as useful an enterprise as telling the story of the Eurozone troubles in the style of Beatrix Potter. But knowing and enjoying PD James' earliest books, and sharing her love of Austen, I was very hopeful. As it happens, PD James abandons Austen-speak immediately after the Prologue and never recovers it, illustrating perhaps the imperishable brilliance of the original.
The result is a very dull and predictable story of detection with white soup and crinolines, hamstrung by the presence of so many characters above suspicion: the murderer therefore being signposted from early on.
I kept hoping for the appearance of some passing Lakeland poet, one Master Ebenezer Dalgliesh, to rattle the Pemberley shades. No such luck. It made me sad.
I can see from the Publishers' point of view that when a fine and profitable author sets off on an unexpected route, they may have little choice other than to follow and try to make it work. But in that case, why no proper copy-editing, which would have removed the several absurd repetitions and, for example, the strange situation on p81 when Darcy is placed in 2 separate parts of the house - at the same time?
The interpolation of characters from Emma and Persuasion was particularly ill-judged.
Let's hope we may escape 'The Massacre at Mansfield Park'.
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150 of 164 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much to expect. 20 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
I imagined "Death Comes to Pemberley" was going to be a cosy read for myself and Madame Gersbach to saunter through over Christmas. Here we have an "acclaimed" writer taking the characters from a wonderful Austen novel and playing about with them in a crime story. I didn't expect anything comparable to the real thing in terms of quality of prose or effortless wit but I did expect something light and amusing with an intriguing and entertaining plot.

Oh,how wrong can a poor boy be!

After an amusing and breezy prologue which introduced the main protagonists and filled in the interim between Austen's conclusion and James' commencement, the book hit the buffers.From the start,Darcy and Elizabeth were transformed into a cross between the Oxo Couple (Katy and Phillip?)and the Glums,Darcy having lost most of his haughty confidence and Elizabeth her feisty wit.The Pemberley they are given here had curiously been translated into an early nineteenth century version of "Downton Abbey" where servants held the stage alongside their crushingly boring employers in a way that I can't remember them doing in any of the Austen that I've read.The "crime" element is feeble where it isn't farcical.From time to time,the author also treats us to lectures on various aspects of the society of the time which suggest both a low opinion of the knowledge of her readers and a lack of skill in historical scene-setting.Somehow Austen managed to give us all we need to know about her world without getting out the history books and hitting us over the head with them.

In short,"Death at Pemberley" could most charitably be described as a damp squib.I wanted to like it because I admire P.D.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 14 Jun 2013
By Granty
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a lover of both Jane Austen and P D James, I was looking forward to reading this ebook. I was, however sadly disappointed. It was full of solecisms and anachronistic use of language. Surely a Regency woman, admittedly one who married a few rungs up the social ladder and didn't adjust her outlook, would not be described as "loud mouthed"? Coarse and vulgar would have been more appropriate. Also, shouting being described as hollering? Hallooing, not hollering. Small points perhaps, but irritating to a Jane-ite like me. Instances of people pouring out their hearts to strangers (far too common today but rare then) also annoyed me. This book is not for me.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably disappointing 6 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover
I am sorry this has been my introduction to PD James, an author I have heard highly spoken of. I rarely write reviews, but felt I had to put this down.
This book was truly awful, and it is hard to believe it would have been published if not for the successful authors name attached.
There is no character development at all, in fact the characters are as two dimensional as a photograph. None of the wit and sparkle one gets in the original Austen, but no suspense or drama worth speaking of on the crime writing side either.
If this had been a young writers first attempt, I would have said well done, and maybe in a few years with a lot of work you will amount to something.
To be honest it reads like a set of notes on which one might develop a novel; as if the writer roughly sketched some story ideas, and then could not be bothered to actually turn it into a novel.
Waste your money on it if you want, but I wouldn't bother if I were you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Plausible comtinuation of Pride and Perjudice.
A good puzzle. Characters further developed. Relaxing entertaining read. First time I have tried PD James as I don't normally read thrillers.
Published 3 days ago by David K.
2.0 out of 5 stars Austen it ain't!
I didn't care for the style in which it was written, & felt the territory was not a place that Jane Austen would have ventured with her characters. P.D. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Felicity Morte
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, even for die hard Austen fans
I started reading this book expecting to not like it, in fact I bought it quite a long time ago and hadn't read it convinced that it would be so glaringly different to Austen's... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Angelina
5.0 out of 5 stars One to save and enjoy.
What's not to love,
The book itself, in hardback is a joy to physically read, hold, turn the pages of and later store on a bookshelf -- this is a keeper. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Ger Hogan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent extension to Pride and Prejudice.
As usual with P.D. James, it is very well written and a sympathetic way to deal with well known characters. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Sibelius
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
This was a singularly disappointing read - flat and boring. Fortunately, the television production put some colour into it and brought it to life.
Published 18 days ago by Flutterby
3.0 out of 5 stars JANE AUSTIN SEQUEL
found the book well written,if a bit dull.the BBC drama version was better as it was more lively with more action even if it was not in the book.
Published 21 days ago by spider-russ
4.0 out of 5 stars An honourable and worthy sequel
A sequel to Pride And Prejudice by veteran crime writer and massive Austen fan PD James. Darcy and Elizabeth have been happily married for six years when, on the eve of their... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Greg Farefield-Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Beautiful writing from the master. A perfect blend of the original characters and a new story. I have read it three times already!
Published 27 days ago by Colin Beckwith
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
an excellent sequel to pride and prejudice written by a renown crime writer. result is a novel that you can't put down. Read more
Published 1 month ago by sarah c. j. terry
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